Learning to ride a bike

According to the book Human Scale by Kirkpatrick Sale, the most efficient form of transportation on earth is the bicycle. In terms of converting energy to motion, the book says, the bicycle is more efficient than a horse, fish, bird, mouse, car, helicopter, plane, jet, or any other animal or machine.

Given the increasing cost of gasoline, diesel, LPG, and other fossil fuels, we have all the more reason to shift to bicycles for ordinary, day-to-day transport. We should all ask our local officials to set aside road lanes specifically for bicycles, to encourage everyone to use this super-efficient transport mode for daily commuting or just for leisure.

Bicycles do not only save the rider money and the country dollars. They also reduce pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. In addition, bicycle assembly, manufacture and repair can become a backyard industry. Best of all, a bicycle keeps the rider fit and healthy.

If you (or your children) don’t know yet how to ride a bike, here’s a painless way to learn, minus the usual bruises:

  • Get a bicycle of the right training height for you: that is, when you sit on the saddle, your heels should barely touch the ground.

  • Unscrew the two pedals and take them out, so that your feet can easily move back and forth without obstruction.

  • Find a level or very slightly inclined road with no motorized traffic that can disturb your riding practice.

  • Practice pushing yourself off with your feet, lifting your feet off the ground for as long as you can, and then extending your feet to stop your fall.

  • Try to stay in balance on the bike for as long as possible. One way to stay in balance is to steer the bike in the direction of your fall. You must learn to do this without conscious thought.

  • Keep practising, until you are confident you can keep your balance as long as possible on a slow-moving bike. Get someone to push you off, for greater momentum.

  • When you can keep your balance without conscious thought, practice how to make turns. Turning essentially involves leaning towards the direction of your turn. Again, practice until you can turn without conscious thought.

  • When you can make turns with confidence, install back the two pedals and learn to use them. You may now start enjoying your new-found riding skill!


  1. ahmed
    Posted November 15, 2010 at 8:54 pm | Permalink

    i wanna know if cycling is ecological or not, and why

  2. Roberto Verzola
    Posted December 25, 2010 at 7:58 pm | Permalink

    Can you please explain further what you mean by cycling?

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